8 November 2017

Planning approval to turn traffic islands into oasis

Proposals to create a new park in the central valley through Brighton have been given planning permission.

Landscaping designs for the Valley Gardens project were approved by the authority’s planning committee today (8 November 2017). 

Changes to highway layouts have already been approved by the council. These do not require planning permission and were not a consideration for today’s committee.

The application site runs from St Peter’s Church to the Royal Pavilion Gardens.

Landscaping features approved include a new public square south of St Peter’s church. Further south, opposite the Richmond pub, a second public plaza to be known as Richmond Square, would form a location for informal activity and occasional events.

New seating, a meadow area, more tree planting and a water garden to manage surface water run-off are included.

The scheme involves a net transfer of highways to parks space of 3000 sq m – roughly the size of 11 tennis courts.

A new network of paths for pedestrians and cyclists aims to follow ‘desire lines’ – reflecting where people actually want to go.

The Mazda Fountain near the bottom of North Road, will remain.

Planning committee chair Cllr Julie Cattell said: “The aim here is to change the current isolated traffic islands into pleasant green spaces which people want to spend time in. The plans should also make the area easier to travel through by sustainable transport such as walking, cycling, buses and taxis.”

Under the plan, general traffic would be placed on a two-way road to the east. To the west, there would be a quieter road for buses, taxis and local traffic heading for the North Laine area. This quieter road is intended to be less of a barrier, so the green spaces are better linked to the city centre and Pavilion Gardens.

A YouTube video explaining the project is available here.

How the new square in front of St Peter’s church could look.